Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Italian proverbs- Campa cavallo che l'erba cresce

Here is another obscure Italian saying that has no equivalent in English.

Campa cavallo che l'erba cresce literally means "live, horse, because the grass is growing." This is taken from a story in which a man has a horse that is exhausted and about to (how shall I put this?) croak. To encourage the horse to go on and not give up he tells the poor animal that the grass around them is growing even as he speaks- implying that the horse will eventually have something to eat.

The saying (often abbreviated to just "campa cavallo") is used to comment upon empty promises, or situations where a favorable outcome is difficult or not forthcoming at best.

Some examples in context:

Mi presti mille euro? Ti ripago quando trovo lavoro.
Eh, campa cavallo!

Can you lend me a thousand euros? I'll pay you back when I get a job.
Yeah, right.

Col nuovo governo andremo in pensione prima.
Campa cavallo che l'erba cresce.

We can retire earlier when the new government takes charge.
Sure we can!